COBE researchers and Spit for Science volunteers work together during data collection.


At VCU we are fortunate to have tremendous faculty expertise in factors that contribute to substance use and mental health challenges, as well as the promotion of well-being.

The College Behavioral and Emotional Health Institute (COBE) grew out of Spit for Science, a university wide research project focused on substance use and emotional health outcomes in college populations.

Spit for Science created a collaborative opportunity for researchers to bring that expertise “home” to VCU in a way that could engage our students in the research process, raise awareness about substance use and mental health challenges among young people, and use this research to benefit our community.

COBE’s mission is to promote behavioral and emotional health among young people through the integration of research with coursework, programming, and policy.

COBE aims to:

  • Create collaborative interdisciplinary opportunities to continue to grow the research basis on substance use and emotional health in young people, and to support faculty who work in these areas
  • Take advantage of our faculty expertise to create innovative coursework opportunities for our students, to both engage in the research process, and to learn about the research findings
  • Grow collaborations with other divisions across the university where our research can be used to develop more effective programming to support student success.
  • Bring research to the public in engaging and accessible ways
  • Build collaborations with the community to use our VCU expertise to support and promote well-being in young people